The Boston Celtics offseason will continue to be littered with rumors regarding their point guard position, and rightfully so. Marcus Smart is a serviceable replacement to the departed Kemba Walker. Still, bodies — and more importantly, upside — could be used at the position.
In an ideal world, the Celtics would simply be able to plug in trade targets such as Damian Lillard or Malcolm Brogdon at the position. Yet, as of now, any connections to such players are nothing more than rumors. Then again, as San Antonio Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray noted, rumors can sometimes be true.
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
Murray Responds to Trade Speculation
Walker wasn’t the only piece to make their way to Oklahoma City this offseason, the four-time All-Star was accompanied by the No. 16 selection in the 2021 NBA Draft, stripping the Celtics of a first-round pick. Conversely, the Spurs do have a first-round pick — No. 12 overall.
In Zach Harper’s latest mock draft, The Athletic’s NBA analyst noted that while it’s unlikely San Antonio moves their pick, they are a team to monitor around draft time as they could entertain moves to better help elevate their middle of the pack roster — possibly spelling the end of both Murray and teammate Derrick White’s tenure in the Lone Star State.
The Spurs have to figure out where they want to be as a franchise and what their plan is moving forward. They’re kind of stuck in the middle right now. Murray and Derrick White could both be gettable, according to league sources.
Murray quickly caught wind of the trade rumors, taking to Twitter to respond. Yet, instead of denouncing the theorizing of his impending Spurs exit, the 24-year-old further added intrigue, tweeting “Rumors Can Be True… and Rumors Can Be False.”
Murray & White Outlook
Murray, while maybe not a franchise cornerstone, has established himself as a bonafide starting point guard in recent years. Set to embark on his fourth NBA season, he has started 125 of his 133 games since missing the entirety of 2018-2019 with a torn ACL. This past season, the Washington product averaged career highs in nearly every major category, posting 15.7 points, 7.1 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 31.9 minutes per game.
His 31.7% 3-point shooting percentage was a 5.2% dip from the year prior. However, the slashing point guard did manage personal bests in both 2-point shooting (48.8%) and field goal attempts (14.5).
While his current game certainly has some limitations, the guard undoubtedly possesses some intriguing upside. Not to mention, his contract is more than stomachable — especially on the heels of Walker’s monster deal. Murray is owed just a smidge under $50 million over the next three seasons.
As for White, while he’s done most of his damage of late as a two-guard, he is capable of manning ball-handling duties. In Murray’s lost season of 2018, White stepped in at point guard, starting 55 of 67 games while helping lead the Spurs to a seventh-place finish in the West and a 48-34 record — still, their best regular-season record since 2016.
Multiple lower-body injuries limited the combo guard to just 36 games (32 starts) in 2020-21. With that said, like Murray, he also produced career numbers on the year, averaging 15.4 points per game. Over his NBA career, the Colorado native has shot 35.7% from 3-point range and averaged 10.8 points per contest.
- Veteran Point Guard is Celtics ‘Top Target in 2021 Free Agency,’ per Analyst
- Jayson Tatum Breaks Silence on Udoka Hire, Puts NBA on Notice
- Celtics ‘Believed’ to Have Interest in 5-Time All-Star: Report
- Long-Time Point Guard Named Celtics ‘Surprise Trade Target’